By James L. Stroud, Jr.
If you read, write or know anything about fiction, then you know first of all that by definition it means to fabricate. Therefore, when it comes to getting published, one common assumption is that having a vivid imagination to conjure up a fictitious story might be all that one would need to write a book.
That’s not how it happened for author/business owner/philanthropist Lynnette A. Murray-Gibson, who would probably disagree with that assumption, mainly because her two award-winning fiction books for children (Clara Meets Mr. Twiddles and The Hottest Day) were written from her personal true-life experiences in Minnesota.
According to Murray-Gibson, she had no intentions of becoming a writer of any books, but it was fate and God’s will that made it happen. In 1999, Gibson-Murray, who is originally from Monrovia, Liberia in West Africa, was living in New Jersey recovering from a heart condition and looking for a different place to live and relax. In the fall of 2000, Murray-Gibson came to Minnesota.
When asked what triggered the inspiration for each book, Gibson-Murray said, “When I first moved to Minnesota, I started a cleaning service doing residential properties. I use to clean this one house in New Brighton, MN and there was this cat name Jasper that did some strange and crazy things when I came to clean the house.
“Jasper would hunch his back, snarl at me, run away, follow me around to see what I was doing. He watched everything that I did. So I began telling people I knew all about this crazy cat and everyone would say to me, “It sounds like a good children’s story… You should write it.’
“I didn’t have any writing experience and didn’t know anything about writing a book either. So I messed around with it for a couple of years and people kept encouraging me by saying ‘You should write it, you should write it!’”
According to Murray-Gibson, she was coming home one night from Bible study thinking about the lesson. It was about how God wants people to do great things for him, but Murray-Gibson struggled with it at first because she had no money or the experience to take on a book project. It was moments later, says Murray-Gibson, that she heard a voice in her head that said “Just go write the story.”
“So when I got home from Bible study, I sat at my desk and wrote the story. I believe it was divinely inspired,” says Murray-Gibson.
Excited about her completed story, Murray-Gibson went upstairs to test read it with some children and it was well received. It was then that she was told by the children she had a winner. As it turns out, the children were correct. In 2009, Clara Meets Mr. Twiddles: The Magical Adventures of Clara the Cleaning Lady won first place in the Hollywood Book Festival. It also won the Arizona Author’s Association’s third-place award for children’s literature. Since then, Murray-Gibson has continued to write and has another book, The Hottest Day, which is about a panda bear that lives in a zoo located in China on the hottest day ever.
Murray-Gibson is the founder of the Roynell and Annette Murray Ministries and does readings and public speaking engagements. All proceeds from both books go through the ministry to fund God’s Children Orphanage in Liberia.
Earlier this year, Murray-Gibson stopped in to read both books to the students at Lucy-Laney Elementary school in North Minneapolis. All of the students were quiet throughout the reading and afterwards bombarded Murray-Gibson with questions, and she was happy to answer them.
So far Murray-Gibson has raised over $6,000 dollars for the orphanage from book sales.
To purchase Murray-Gibson’s books or for more information, go to www.ClaraMeetsMrTwiddles.com or www.fivestarpublications.com.
James L. Stroud, Jr., welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.